All posts by Victoria Preston

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Register Now for the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition 17-19 March 2015

Come to London to attend this key industry event for excellent technical content, an innovative exhibition, and professional networking opportunities.  Download the Conference Preview for a first look at the technical sessions, special events, and training courses. New in 2015 is an interactive plenary session titled Successfully Delivering Wells in a Changing World. Panelists are Khaled Al Mogharbel, Schlumberger; Ivan Tan, Shell; Arne Lyngholm, Statoil; and Jack Winton, KCA Deutag. There will also be a half-day dedicated Young Professionals programme.

Receive an early bird discount on full conference registration when you register by 17 January 2015. 

Register Now for the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition »

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Director’s Note: Public Acceptability

Oil and gas companies are making long-term investments around the world in costly, technically complicated projects where unanticipated community concerns can significantly reduce the return on investment.  One of my goals as HSSE-SR Technical Director is to convince technical decision makers with a deep understanding of the project they are working on that success can depend on something outside the realm of the design specifications and engineering—PUBLIC ACCEPTABILITY.  Many project delays are the result of non-technical issues.  For a variety of reasons, there is not always a straight-forward path to address these issues early in the project life cycle.  Some ideas to better prepare the industry include:  (1) dealing with sustainability issues beyond regulatory requirements, (2) recognizing issues outside the workplace or outside the normal bounds of exploration, development production, which will require attention, and (3) understanding that what works changes from place to place.  In June 2015, the first SPE Health and Social Responsibility Forum will be held in Miami, Florida.  This forum will explore the role of the oil and gas industry in community health and include experts from outside the industry in health, technology, and academia.  Health impacts are a very real community concern.  The issues can range from the impact of noise and emissions associated with high volume unconventional development in the US to dealing with the health issues created when an oil company brings in people to remote places with few medical professionals.  These issues can have a profound impact on pubic acceptability of our industry.  One can lead to fights over drilling bans.  The other can mean lost time for workers out sick or caring for their loved ones.  Both point to the local nature of issues in this realm.  This is not a generic issue but a very specific sustainability issue that can significantly impact projects and local perceptions.  SPE will offer its first sustainability training program at its 2015 E&P HSSE Conference—Americas in Denver, Colorado.  My priority is to instill in operations leaders that sustainability needs to be integrated into the very way they think about their projects.

IPTC

International Petroleum Technology Conference

International Petroleum Technology Conference 
10 – 12 December 2014 
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Renowned Eastern Hemisphere oil & gas event – Dissemination of new & current technology, best practices, and multi-disciplinary activities to emphasis the importance of the “value chain” and maximizing asset value.  D&C focused technical session: “Optimisation of Well Planning”,

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Distinguished Lecturer: December

“Fracturing Fluids: How to Frac with Less or No Water” by D.V.  Satya Gupta 

  • Dec. 11, 2014  Great Yarmouth, England 
  • Dec. 14, 2014  Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 
  • Dec. 16, 2014 Muscat, Oman 
  • Dec. 17, 2014 Cairo, Egypt 
  • Dec. 18, 2014 Tunis, Tunisia

The success of hydraulic fracturing technologies in North America is raising interest to develop unconventional resources in various parts of the world where freshwater resources are not readily available. The presentation will describe technologies currently available for fracturing applications using lower-quality water, fluid systems 
that minimize or eliminate water, and systems based on non-aqueous liquids, or even no liquids at all.

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Director’s Note: Lessons Learned from Bhopal

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:  In the early morning hours of 3 December 1984, a large amount of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas was released from a Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant, which swept over a large, densely populated area south of the plant.  Thousands of people were killed including some at the railway station 2 km away. 

I was an employee of Union Carbide Corp. (UCC), the US parent company of UCIL at the time of the accident.  There is a great deal that we will never know about the accident.  It is difficult to investigate a catastrophe of this magnitude.  Most investigations focused on the technical story.  We know that, although significant safeguards were designed into the plant to prevent an MIC release, or at least to minimize its impact, all of the safeguards were bypassed, out-of-service, or otherwise rendered ineffective. 

But there is a social story that is just as important.  Four social drivers form the backdrop to the tragedy:  (1) the appeal of socialism in India, (2) an extreme anti-expatriate legal system, (3) general national poverty with abject localized poverty near the plant, and (4) the lack of a safety culture.  All of these made it difficult to operate a plant of this sort in India at that time.

Financial factors were important as well; the plant was not making money.  UCIL had decided to permanently shut it down, thereby significantly affecting operator morale and exacerbating maintenance deficiencies.  The plant was in its last production run at the time of the accident, working off the last batch of MIC.

Much has changed in the process industries as a result of Bhopal including many things that we take for granted, such as hazard and operability analysis, management of change, permit to work, and dispersion modeling.  There is an important lesson that we have not learned – effective use of SOPs.  The oil and gas industry needs to catch up with the airline and space exploration industries to instill an effective safety culture and to make following SOPs an absolute priority. 

I am frequently struck by how little people know about this accident.   I think it is important to not only remember those killed and injured in the accident but also to resolve that nothing like it will ever happen again. 

Web Events

New Web Event on Shale Formation Re-Fracturing

Join the 17 February web event on “Shale Formation Re-Fracturing; Why do it, What is Needed and How?” presented by Ibrahim S. Abou-Sayed.  Multi-fractured horizontal wells in Shale plays exhibit, sometimes dramatic, performance decline due to deterioration in completion efficiency. This decline is caused by one or more physical processes. These processes cause an adverse impact on the effective fracture dimensions and are controlled by pressure changes.

Web Events

New Web Event on Crude Oil Separators and Systems

Join the 14 January web event on “Upgrading Crude Oil Separators and Systems for Mature Oil Fields” presented by Graeme Smith. This web event will consider original end of field life design constraints on crude oil separators and in a logical progression illustrates how hidden capacity in a separator can be identified and used to upgrade the separator, both by maximizing the use of available volume in the separator and also by the use of upgraded process internals.

Web Events

New Web Event on Global Decommissioning

Join Jim Christie on 3 February as he discusses global decommissioning. How do you go about decommissioning three interconnected offshore platforms in the UK North Sea, comprising almost 100,000 tonnes of topsides and 40,000 tonnes of jackets, together with abandoning over 100 wells and hundreds of kilometers of pipelines? Carefully, and unless you want to break the bank; differently! There are three important “C’s” to consider: Compliance, Collaboration, and Contracting. Read more »

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New Web Event on Cyber Espionage

Join the 28 January web event on “Target, Havex, Shamoon, Night Dragon: How Cyber Espionage Impacts the Oil and Gas Industry and How You Can Make a Difference” presented by Betsy Woudenberg. This web event will review recent cyber campaigns and how and why cyber adversaries have their sights set not only on IT systems, but also engineering systems, control systems and industrial devices of some of the largest companies in the world, including manufacturing and energy.